In May of this year the Texas legislature approved a bill that now allows greater use of telemedicine in patient treatment. Telemedicine involves licensed health care professionals providing medical care to patients physically located at sites other than where the professional is located by use of technology that allows the professional to communicate with and see and hear the patients in real time.
The measure eliminated the need for an in-person consultation to establish a physician-patient relationship prior to providing telemedicine services and also paves the way for expanded use of technology-backed health care. The bill allows physicians to establish a relationship with a new patient through a virtual visit using either an audio-video telecommunications platform or a combination of “store-and-forward technology” and a phone call if the physician has access to either the patient’s medical records or clinically relevant photographic and video images.
The use of telemedicine can significantly reduce the cost of health care by reducing travel times, staffing and overhead requirements. Many employers have started integrating telemedicine into their healthcare benefit plans to increase employee choice and reduce plan costs. Check with your employer or health benefit plan to see if telemedicine might be an option for you. Prescriptions and referrals for physical therapy are available through these services and may help you begin your therapy faster and with less costs in time and money.